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Welcome to a new school year, and our three ‘magic words’

As many parents will know, I have worked at Norton College for a long time, now.  This academic year is my thirtieth in the college!  I have worked under five headteachers, and now it is my turn.  It is an honour and privilege, and, of course, a great responsibility to have been asked to lead the college.  I am fortunate to be supported by a talented senior leadership team, and an enthusiastic and hard working staff – teachers, teaching assistants, and support staff.  We are all here to ensure that students get the best possible experience, and the best start in life.

I would like to welcome all our students and their parents and carers back to the college after their summer break, and in particular, I extend a warm welcome to our new year 7 students and their parents.  On Friday afternoon this week, I had the privilege of speaking to the parents of some of our new year 7s to share good news about their children’s progress in their first few days with us.  I hope to speak with all of you over the course of the year at our various events.

The summer holidays saw our year 11 and year 13 students in college for their results days, and, as always, it is wonderful to see the joy on their faces as they open their envelopes and realise that their grades mean they can go on to sixth form, apprenticeships, university and careers.  I know the parents of our new year 11 and year 13 will be encouraging and supporting their children as they begin such an important year in their lives.

During the course of the week, I have shared with students three ‘magic words’ that will shape everything we do this year: READY, RESPECTFUL, SAFE.  I intend to write a blog on each one of these words over the next few weeks.

In brief, success for our students depends on the engagement, attitude and behaviour of every other student, as well as on their teachers and support staff.  When the students in a lesson are engaged and focussed, they challenge each other and they lift the expectations of what they can all achieve. 

When students and teachers are READY to learn and to teach – punctual to lessons, properly equipped, lessons prepared, home learning completed – teachers can focus on their teaching and students can make the most of every minute in lessons.

When students and staff are RESPECTFUL of each other, when students follow the instructions of their teachers and teachers listen to the concerns and questions of students, then all students can be properly supported in making brilliant progress.

If we keep each other – and ourselves – SAFE, looking out for any signs of anxiety or worry or stress, we can ensure that all our students can be confident and feel pride in the progress they are making.

So, I wish you all – students, teachers and parents – a happy and successful new school year, and I look forward to working with all of you.